Leeds Hospitals Charity is funding a full-time clinical research fellow, Alexios Dosis, and a part-time clinical research nurse to conduct a feasibility clinical trial with the aim of making surgery safer for patients with bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer and the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Most patients with bowel cancer undergo major surgery, which cures over half of patients. However, around one in three patients suffer a complication, with severe complications leading to death or survivors suffering long-term disability, financial hardship, and dependency on carers.

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is currently the most objective and precise method of evaluating preoperative fitness and is considered the gold standard for preoperative assessment.  CPET which involves the patient exercising on a cycle ergometer to measure cardiac and respiratory function and help predict, and mitigate, the risk of postoperative complications.

However, CPET is not applicable to certain population groups, and some are not able to tolerate the test. It also involves an additional trip to the hospital and specialist facilities costing £350 per test.

A new remote monitoring system could potentially alleviate these issues. It involves the patient wearing a patch for three days to capture physiological data which is connected to a dedicated mobile device,

Over the next two years, Alexios will be conducting a feasibility clinical trial at St James’s University Hospital involving 200 patients, to determine whether remote monitoring is at least as good as CPET in predicting postoperative complications in patients undergoing elective bowel cancer surgery.

“Undertaking research is an integral part of my development and is key to my aim of becoming a Consultant in General Surgery with a special interest in Colorectal Surgery.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who donates to support research. This Fellowship is a valuable stepping-stone in my career, and I wouldn’t have been able to do the work without support from Leeds Hospitals Charity. It’s an exciting area to be working in and could have huge benefits for patients in the future.”

- Alexios Dosis, clinical research fellow

Remote patient monitoring is a platform technology. Having established feasibility and efficacy in assessing fitness for bowel cancer surgery, the hope is to investigate its application in other surgical uses (e.g. patients on the transplant waiting list) and ultimately position Leeds as leading centre in the transition and evaluation of mobile digital healthcare technology.